A New Life Through The Eyes Of Kanto: An Autobiography

By QBOak

Adventure / Drama

Round One: Great Balls Of Fire!

A series of loud explosions went off, and the cheering from the crowd erupted from outside.

I gasped, the noises startling me, as I rubbed my twitching right eye.

Pokemon Trainers were all around me in a long hallway, an opening just a few feet in front of us all leading outside to a stadium filled with screaming fans in the bleachers. The Trainers were all staring firmly ahead, most holding serious, grim looks on their faces.

A woman was in front of our huge group holding up a sign on a stick that I couldn’t read from where I stood.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Pokemon League competition’s opening ceremonies!” an announcer yelled, his voice echoing strongly throughout the stadium. “This is where Pokemon Trainers and their Pokemon, having accomplished obtaining the eight Badges in the Kanto region, will compete and show off their skills and talent in competition, seeking to be the winner and further their steps on the road to becoming Pokemon Masters!”

The lady walked forward, and the group I was with moved forward immediately.

Oh, no, I thought as my feet shakily carried me forward. Here it is. It’s finally time. I jabbed at my eye once more in a desperate attempt to get it to stop twitching, and then lowered my hand.

“And here come our competitors now!” the announcer introduced.

The crowd cheered even louder as me and my group entered the grassy ground in the middle of them all.

The sun hit my face and I squinted into it, my eye still twitching, looking around at the excited crowd. It was so much hotter outside than it was in the air conditioned building. Wow, I thought. Look at all these people. They’re all so excited. My heart had been pounding like crazy since I woke up this morning, accompanied by my eye twitching, and neither had calmed down since. Now, both were going completely berserk. I was too nervous to even rub at my eye, uncertain of how my weak legs were still carrying me.

The seats contained thrilled people of varying ages, sizes, skin tones, attractiveness, and clothing styles. The one thing they all shared was their level of excitement.

I wonder where June is, I pondered, sure that she was around somewhere.

The group of Trainers came to a stop and I looked up to see that I was facing the wrong way. Everyone else was paying attention to something.

A short, wooden platform in the field, near the bleachers, held a microphone, but no one was behind it.

A long stairway between the stands lead up to the top of the stadium landing, which contained an enormous, metal bowl, one flag waving in the air on a pole on either side of the bowl, a Poke Ball design on the flags.

What now? I wondered.

“And now, Trainer Ashley Ein, carrying the torch containing the flame of Moltres, has entered the stadium for the official lighting of the central torch which will burn through the entire duration of this competition!” the announcer stated to more cheering from the audience and the Trainers around me.

My eyes continued to scan the bleachers as I joined in the applause, seeking June. Where is she?

Someone ran across the grass, in front of the crowd of Trainers, wearing white shorts, sneakers, and a tank top. The front of her tank top had a Poke Ball design on it. She carried a flaming torch in her right hand. The girl ran up the stairs, her black hair flowing behind her, glistening in the sun.

I squinted hard at her, my lips slightly parted, my heart beating even quicker than I thought it possibly could right now.

The girl reached the top of the stairs and stopped in front of the bowl.

“As we have done for over a decade now, as we light this legendary flame, we ask everyone in attendance, at home, tuned in in every way imaginable, to lower their heads in a moment of silence,” the announcer requested solemnly.

It got uncomfortably silent, startlingly instantly, as everyone lowered their heads, many closing their eyes.

“This flame is not only for our great, powerful, worthy Trainers here today, to motivate them to further success both within and outside of this competition, but also, for those Pokemon Trainers who were unable to complete their journey and arrive to this competition today.”

My eyes widened.

“From those who did not succeed in their quest for the required eight Badges of Kanto, to those whose lives were cut short on the very, challenging road of a Pokemon Trainer.”

My eyes rose high, looking around for whose voice was echoing these words. Aly... Kiwi...

“You are not forgotten. Your ambition burns alongside all of our own, here during this tournament, and long after the flame of the mighty Moltres dies out, only to return again, brighter than ever and more meaningful than before with newly collected hopes, dreams, desires, and promises.”

The girl uptop the stadium lowered her torch towards the bowl and it blew out an enormous flame instantly, the girl stepping back and gazing up at the marvelous sight in front of her.

Everyone silently admired the beautiful flame said to belong to the Legendary Pokemon, the bird of fire, Moltres.

My eyes returned to the girl who lit the flame.

She turned around and looked down at everyone, smiling with her small lips.

My eyes began to tear up, and I looked away, holding back the sudden pain inside of me.

The girl ran down the stairs quickly, the torch still blazing in hand, and stood by the other Trainers I was surrounded by.

I stared at the back of her head, feeling so weak, sad, and disbelieving.

“And now, ladies and gentlemen, here is President Showzon to welcome the competitors!” the announcer continued.

A tall man in a red suit walked out from where me and the other Trainers had come out from, his hands behind his back. A warm smile was plastered on his face as he stared at us all, reaching the wooden platform and stepping up to the mic. He ran a hand through his black hair, some of it falling over his face, covering a portion of it. He cleared his throat. “Hello, Pokemon Trainers,” he greeted us in a kind, clear voice. “Today is a very special day for you all. You have all come so far and experienced so much. There is no doubt in my mind that you are thinking of the struggles you and your Pokemon partners have been through to get here, and what your next steps will be from here on. I congratulate you all on making it this far. You all are marvelous Trainers. This competition is where you all will learn just how big the world truly is as you encounter Pokemon you may have never seen before, and battle against tactics you may have never considered using yourself. No matter what, today is a day where all of you have proven yourselves. Battle bravely. Do not back down. Address all fears and be rid of them. May your Pokemon feel your energy and may you lead them into victory. Victory, not as a won battle, but victory, as valiant partners going against the odds, no matter the outcome. I wish you all the best of luck!”

The crowd erupted into cheers, and everyone around me clapped excitedly, yelling and jumping for joy.

I clapped absentmindedly, my eyes on the girl who held the torch.

She looked around happily, and her light blue eyes landed on mine.

My eyes widened in surprise and I looked away, staring at President Showzon blankly, continuing to clap. Melissa, I thought. She looks so much like my sister. I could feel the burning tears starting to form in my eyes, and I held them back with all of the strength inside of me as I clapped harder.

*

“Gary! There you are!” I heard a familiar voice call, footsteps pounding the floor. I turned to see June with a huge smile on her face, running up to me. “Did you see me in the crowd?”

“I looked for you, but I didn’t see you,” I shook my head, smiling back.

After the ceremony was over, everyone departed and I was walking through the inside of the enormous stadium building. Apparently, the Trainers had to register to find out where they would be battling at first.

It was a relief to be out of the heat, the inside of the building a pleasing, light blue color. I eagerly bounced in place a little, admiring the shade of blue as several people moved past me, heading to one of several lines that led to one of several women in their own individual booth, scattered about.

“Guess we have a line to wait on before we can register, huh?” June pointed out.

“No problem. Let’s just get on any one.”

We walked over to a line, standing behind a very tall man with a black backpack on his back wearing a red, short sleeved polo shirt and faded blue jeans. His white sneakers tapped against the floor as he waited.

“This is so exciting!” June exclaimed. “I’ve never been to a competition like this before!”

I opened my mouth to respond, but was interrupted.

“Gary!”

I turned at the sound of my name and my heart stopped. “Mom?!

“Hey, there.” My mom stopped near me, a small smile on her face.

“Mom, what are you doing here?” I asked, stunned.

“I guess you didn’t hear me calling out to you in the bleachers, huh?” she asked, crossing her arms and smiling wider.

I smiled back and ran up to her, wrapping my arms around her. “Mommy! I can’t believe you actually came!”

She hugged me tightly in return.

“I insisted, Gary,” an unmistakable voice spoke up.

I let go of my mom and turned to see Prof. Oak. “Prof. Oak! You’re here, too!”

Prof. Oak nodded, smiling. “Indeed, son. As I said I would. Tracey is still at the lab, keeping watch over the Pokemon.”

“PROF. OAK!” June shouted and ran up to him, grabbing his shoulders and jumping up and down eagerly.

Prof. Oak stared at June in shock.

My mom looked at June with surprise in her eyes.

“Oh, my. Well, hello, June,” Prof. Oak said uncomfortably, looking around frantically, embarrassed.

“June, it’s so nice to see you again!” my mom gushed, walking over to her.

June ogled Prof. Oak for a couple more minutes before she seemed to snap back to reality and turned to my mom. “OH!” She skipped over to my mom and they both hugged. “I’m so glad you came!”

“Thanks, sweetheart,” my mom beamed.

I smiled and shook my head.

“So what’s going on now?” my mom asked me after releasing June.

“I’m on line to register to find out where I’ll be battling at,” I explained.

My mom turned to look at the line I was on. “It sure is a long line.”

“But it’s moving quick enough.” I retrieved my spot behind the giant man as Trainers started to walk off the front of the line to newly opened counters.

“Gary,” my mom spoke solemnly. She placed a hand on my shoulder and then pulled me in for another hug.

I hugged her back tightly. “Mom, what’s wrong?”

She sniffled and looked into my eyes, her eyes tearing up. “Gary, just be safe. Okay?”

I nodded firmly. “I’ll be fine, Mom. I promise. Everything is gonna go just fine. I’m here to win the entire thing here!”

My mom looked at me wearily. “I don’t care about that. Just finish this up and come back home. We can forget about all of this when this thing is finally over.”

“Huh?” I couldn’t believe my ears.

“Once you’re done with this, you can be home with me again,” my mom said quickly. “You can forget about all these silly Pokemon and we can go back to normal again.”

“No!” I cried out loud. “No, mom!” I shook out of her hold and backed away, shaking my head in disbelief.

“No?” my mom said loudly. “What do you mean? After a long year, all of this crap is finally almost over!”“It’s not crap, mom! This isn’t just something that’s over once this competition is done! There’s a lot more to do! I’m not just going to end my entire journey once this is over!”

“I thought all you had to do was win the Badges against the Gym Trainers and then compete here to be a Pokemon Master!”

“No, mom! This is just one step in that direction! The Elite Four are the most powerful Pokemon Trainers out there! Them, and the Pokemon Champion! I still have to defeat them after I win here! And even after that, it doesn’t end! Pokemon never ends, mom! It’s my life! Forever!”

My mom glared hard at me. She stood up, shaking her head, staring at me in disgust and with pain in her eyes. “Oh,” she said, her tone very upset. “Fine.”

Neither of us spoke.

I felt very uncomfortable, my eyes away from her, my hands in my pockets. It seemed a lot more quiet in the building than it had been before, and I was sure that people were staring at us.

“Your grandma and auntie couldn’t make it,” my mom said shortly. “You should call them. They wished you good luck and say that they love you very much and miss you.”

I looked up at my mom.

Before I could say anything, she turned to June and managed a smile. “It was nice to see you again, June. Good luck in your fights.” She turned around and walked off.

We all looked after her.

Prof. Oak turned to me and smiled. “Gary, I know you’ll do just great. Good luck.” He reached out and grabbed my shoulder, giving it a strong squeeze. Turning, he walked quickly after my mother.

“BYE, PROFESSOR OAK!” June screamed after him, waving both of her arms excitedly in the air.

Prof. Oak’s pace picked up immediately as he left the building, squeezing past my mother.

I turned to June.

She turned to me and let out a sigh. “Your mom thinks I’m competing,” she said in a low voice, smiling.

I didn’t smile back. I just turned to the shortening line and stepped up several more feet.

Only a few people were on the line now.

Behind me, the line was huge again.

It wasn’t as long of a wait as I had expected before I was looking into the eyes of a beautiful young woman with short brown hair wearing the same blue and black dress the other women in their booths were wearing. She smiled at me and said, “Welcome to the Pokemon Village. I’ll just need some identification so I can tell you where you’ll be battling.”

“Of course,” I said nervously, handing her my Pokedex.

She opened it and it began to whir mechanically. “Is this your first time competing at the Pokemon League?” she asked gently, staring at my Pokedex.

“Yes, it is,” I said, nodding quickly, shaking slightly.

The woman looked at me and then placed my Pokedex in the slot of a small machine on the counter. She pressed several buttons on a keyboard in front of her and then took my Pokedex out of the machine and handed it back to me. “You’re now checked in, Gary.”

“Thank you very much,” I said, taking back my Pokedex. “So, where and when will I be battling?”

“Well, allow me to explain. You’ll start off in the preliminary rounds. It will be four battles taking place on four separate fields on four different days. These battles will all be three-on-three battles. If you make it through, you’ll be able to compete at the Indigo Stadium.”

“Oh. Preliminaries...” I replied thoughtfully.

The woman nodded and pointed at a screen above her head.

The screen was split into four different sections. One section contained what looked like a white snowflake. Another one looked like a blue raindrop. Another appeared to be a brown mountain. The final section looked like a green leaf sat inside of it.

The woman pressed a large red button on the counter, which lit up.

The sections on the screen above lit in turn, one lighting up brightly and then turning dark again as another section was brightened, the pace picking up quickly as it beeped.

“Just press the button, and your field will be selected,” the woman urged. “It’ll either be Ice, Grass, Rock, or Water.”

“Oh...” I reached out a hand and hovered it over the button as the sections lit up faster. It doesn’t matter, I told myself. Just press it. You have to beat all four of them to compete in the real competition, so just choose! I slammed my hand down.

The flashing slowed down after a second and it finally stopped, chiming loudly on the leaf.

“You’re on the Grass Field, Gary,” the lady said. She typed on the keyboard again. “And this is your opponent.”

The screen now showed my face. My picture was shrunk to take over half of the screen, and an older woman stared out at me with deep blue eyes, taking up the other half. Her blonde hair was short, like a boy’s hair, but she was fairly cute despite that.

“Your opponent will be Lola,” the woman told me. “Your battle will begin at three.”

“Alright!”

“Good luck, Gary.”

“Thank you.”

*

“Oh, my gooooosh! You’re all registered and ready to battle!” my grandma said excitedly. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m pretty nervous,” I admitted.

“I know, but you’ll do just fine. Did you see your mother?”

“Yes,” I said quickly. “She’s around. I spoke to her. She’s doing okay.”

“Good,” my grandma nodded, her smile fading. “Just watch yourself around her, okay? Respect your mother.”

“Yes, grandma,” I said wearily.

“And are you keeping yourself clean?” she demanded. “You don’t look like it. You look a mess.”

“Grandma, I’m fine!”

“You’re just lucky I’m not there. I’ll bet your hair smells terrible, and your clothes are a wreck. When is the last time you took a shower?”“I took one this morning,” I grumbled.

“Speak clearly to your grandmother, Gary!” she demanded strictly.

“I took one a shower this morning, grandma,” I said louder, clearly, my eyes lowering.

“I hope so. Anyway, good luck, Gary. I love you very much, and so does your aunt. She stepped out for a bit but should be back soon. You said your battle begins at three?”

“Yes, grandma.”

“It’s almost three right now, Gary! Don’t you be late!” she laughed.

I chuckled lightly. “I’m headed there right now.”

“Okay. We’ll both be watching and cheering for you. Do your best. And remember that no matter what the outcome, we all love you very much. Me, your aunt, and your mother, okay?”

I smiled and nodded. “I know, grandma. Thank you. I love you, too. And tell auntie I said I love her.”“I will. Good luck, Gary.”

“Bye, Grandma.”

I hung up the phone and stood up, stretching.

June was by the doors leading out of the building.

I walked quickly to join her, the sun hitting me in the face through the windows of the doors, causing me to squint.

She smiled as she saw me. “You ready?” she asked.

I nodded. “It’s almost time. Let’s go.”

We walked past a few stadiums in the area, all holding Pokemon battles at this very moment.

I knew I’d have to stop by one of the stadiums when I was free and watch one of the battles. My heart was beating faster as I spotted the building I was to enter.

Grass Field was written in bold green letters on the top of the building.

I can’t believe it, I thought to myself. The time has finally arrived. My first battle at the Pokemon League... Officially begins.

*

The dark corridor I stood in muffled yet echoed cheers from the crowd for a battle that was still ongoing, or perhaps already over. The announcer’s voice was unclear as he spoke about the battle excitedly.

My chest was in pain as my heart abused it continuously. I wanted to throw up. My arms were shaking hard. My right hand was pressed over my right eye, pressing into it with anger, silently begging it to stop as I waited for the past ten minutes or so.

Suddenly, the door in front of me slowly swung open inward and bright light poured into the corridor from the sun.

It’s my turn, I thought, squinting against the sunlight. Gary. Let’s win this entire thing. There’s no going back, now. I took a deep breath and walked forward towards the light, inhaling the fresh air, taken back by the screaming cheers.

“And now, the next battle on the Grass Field will take place!” an announcer said, hidden from view.

I walked past a large booth with a long bench, set up for any participating Trainer’s coaches to guide them while in battle from the sidelines, and stepped up to a steel square in the wide, grassy field, right outside of a battlefield outlined with a white rectangle. Suddenly, I was surrounded on all four sides by barred steel gates, and the platform rose!

“WHOA!” I screamed out in shock as I was brought to a higher level.

The platform I was standing on stopped several feet in the air, a steel beam holding it up.

“The Green Trainer, Gary, representing Pallet Town!”

The crowd went mad for me.

Two electronic boards, one on either side of the stadium, both high in the air, showed a picture of me with a blue background and white stripes, taking up the left side of the screens, three Poke Ball designs to the left of my picture. The other half of the screen was black.

The audience erupted in cheers as my opponent jogged out onto the field wearing blue sweatpants and a matching blue hoodie, her hood over her head even though it was pretty hot out. She seemed full of energy as she ran up to her platform, which rose up. She removed the hood from her head, ran the back of her hand over her forehead, and smiled at me with a nod.

I smiled and nodded back, straightening up.

“And here is the Red Trainer, Lola, from Celadon City!” the announcer introduced her.

The crowd seemed to scream even louder.

Lola’s picture took the place of the empty spot on the other side of the billboards with a matching blue and white background, three Poke Balls appearing to the right of her picture.

A referee stood wearing a blue shirt with black shorts and sneakers. He held a green flag in one hand, and a red flag in the other hand. He raised both flags, the green one at me, the red one aimed at Lola. “Trainers! BEGIN!”

“Butterfree! I choose you!” I tossed her Poke Ball to the field.

“Freeeeeee!” Butterfree cried out, circling the air.

“Flygon, you’re up first!” Lola said, throwing her dark Poke Ball.

An Ultra Ball.

“A Flygon!” I gasped, taking out my Pokedex.

Flygon. The Mystic Pokemon and the final stage of Trapinch. A Flygon’s speed can be impossible to match by any other Pokemon. They are found in the desert and often create sandstorms to hide from opponents. The flapping of their wings in the sand creates a song that entrances anyone who hears it.

The topmost Poke Ball design on the electronic boards now showed a colored picture of Flygon’s face on Lola’s side, and near my picture, the topmost Poke Ball showed Butterfree’s face.

“So it’s Butterfree up against Flygon in this first battle!” the announcer declared. “It’ll be interesting to see how Gary will handle this powerful Dragon and Ground type opponent.”

“I’m not afraid of that thing!” I shouted. “Butterfree, use Aerial Ace!”

“Freee!” Butterfree dove down to the ground and flew towards Flygon. She disappeared in a flash and fired like a bullet at Flygon, slamming into its stomach.

Flygon flew back but shook its head and glared at Butterfree.

“Flygon, use your Feint Attack!” Lola said.

Flygon let out a cry and flew at Butterfree.

“Butterfree, watch out!” I yelled, knowing there was no dodging a Feint Attack.

Butterfree flapped her wings and backed up, but Flygon vanished and reappeared behind her, swinging its tail and smacking Butterfree in the back. She cried out and fell to the ground, but managed back into the air.

“And both Pokemon attack with unavoidable moves, keeping things nice and even,” the announcer recounted.

“Let’s see what they’ve really got.” Lola’s eyes were on me.

“Butterfree, use your Psybeam! Now!”

“Bide attack!”

Butterfree used Psybeam.

Flygon’s body was outlined in white as Psybeam hit it square in the chest. It was forced back, its eyes closed, and simply waited.

“Get it while it’s still stunned! Use another Psybeam!”

Butterfree hit Flygon with another Psybeam.

Flygon hit the ground and stayed there, twitching in pain.

Butterfree’s doing great! I thought happily, smiling.

That was when I noticed that Lola was also smiling, keeping her eyes on Flygon.

What’s she smiling about? I wondered. Her Pokemon isn’t attacking me back. She’s about to lose. “Butterfree, one more Aerial Ace! Let’s finish it off!”

Butterfree flew at Flygon with determination and picked up speed, ramming into Flygon, causing it to bounce helplessly across the grass.

“Flygon is in some serious trouble right now!” the announcer said. “If it doesn’t start attacking soon, this could be all over.”

Lola giggled, shaking her head.

This must be a trick of some kind, I realized. Something’s going on. Why is Flygon glowing?

Bide. The user sustains damage from the opponent. After a short while, the user throws back all the damage taken, with double the strength.

“NO!” I looked up from my Pokedex.

Flygon opened its eyes and flew into the air.

Butterfree nervously backed up.

Flygon cried out loudly, its entire body glowing brightly, and from it fired a huge white beam at Butterfree.

Butterfree was knocked out of the air and spiraled to the ground. She bounced repeatedly, groaning as she slid to a stop.

“Butterfree! Get up! You can do it!” I urged her. “Just get up!” I’m such an idiot! I screamed in my head. How could I be so stupid? I fell right into that!

Butterfree lifted her head up weakly, managing to shakily get into the air.

“Butterfree, you okay?” I was happy that she managed to get back up, but worried about how much fight she had left in her. “I need you, Butterfree! I know I can trust you to pull through in this field. Use Confusion!”

Butterfree’s eyes glowed light blue, and Flygon, no longer glowing white from its Bide attack, was instead outlined in the same blue color.

Flygon was slammed into the dirt by Butterfree repeatedly. It cried out loudly, struggling to escape, but unable to go anywhere.

“Keep going! Don’t stop until it’s finished!” I pushed Butterfree.

Butterfree continued to lift and slam down Flygon with her Psychic power, Flygon caught in the attack, trying to break free.

“Flygon!” Lola’s face remained cool through all this. “Supersonic!”

“Close its mouth!”

As Flygon opened its mouth, Butterfree growled at it, narrowing her eyes.

Flygon’s mouth immediately snapped shut. Its eyes went wide with surprise.

“Now keep using Confusion!”

Butterfree continued to hold the Dragon captive, mercilessly tossing it around the field, into the dirt, and against the walls.

“Lola’s Flygon is strong, but I don’t know how much more damage it can take, or how it can break free of this Psychic type attack! It looks like Flygon isn’t gonna make it out of this one, folks!” the announcer stated.

Flygon was writhing in pain in the air as Butterfree kept it still, seeming to be applying pressure onto it, pain written all over the opposing Pokemon’s face. Butterfree finally let go of Flygon and it hit the ground, breathing hard.

“And just like that, Butterfree finally releases Flygon from its misery! Is the battle over?” the announcer inquired.

“Finish this with Rock Slide,” Lola spoke cooly.

To my surprise, Flygon instantly flew into the air, above Butterfree, and cried up to the sky loudly.

White circles appeared above Butterfree and huge rocks dropped from them.

Butterfree tried dodging, but was taken down.

Butterfree!

The rocks stopped falling, Butterfree underneath several of them, groaning weakly.

“Butterfree is unable to battle!” the referee announced, raising the red flag toward Lola. “Flygon is the winner!”

“And Flygon pulls out some amazing spirit and takes to its Trainer’s orders, fighting back and winning the match!” the referee screamed loudly amongst the cheers.

My heart dropped. I can’t lose, I thought. Not now. Everyone’s counting on me! “Return, Butterfree!” I recalled her.

The picture of Butterfree on the billboards turned into a silhouette of it.

I closed my eyes, thinking of my remaining five Pokemon.

Lola was looking at me, her arms crossed, smiling.

“Charizard, you’re next!” I flung his Poke Ball into the air, where it popped open and sent out what was inside.

Charizard flew into the air and sent out a huge stream of fire into the sky.

Charizard’s picture took the place of the second Poke Ball on the billboards near my side.

The audience seemed to go crazy with excitement as Charizard showed off his strength to the crowd’s delight.

“And out next is Charizard!” the announcer stated. “This could be the end of Flygon, who is already exhausted from fighting Butterfree!”

“Charizard, Dragon Claw!”

Charizard’s claws glowed light blue and he roared terrifyingly. Flying at Flygon, he pulled back both claws.

“Rock Slide!” Lola repeated.

Flygon used Rock Slide again!

As the rocks piled down towards Charizard, he slashed through them, tossed them aside, used Flamethrower, and flew around them, avoiding taking any damage!

“GO CHARIZARD!” I cheered, jumping for joy.

“Charizard is actually using its impressive strength and flight talents to avoid damage from the otherwise highly Super Effective Rock Slide!” the announcer explained. “This is one well raised Pokemon!”

I beamed proudly at that compliment.

Charizard roared happily, smacking another boulder away with his claw. Suddenly, one remaining boulder fell, landing on Charizard’s back, taking him by surprise. Charizard roared and his claws returned to their normal color as he started to descend.

“Uh, oh,” the announcer added. “It looks like Charizard should have looked both ways before crossing that street! It’s been hit and is going down!”

“Continue!” Lola told Flygon.

Flygon used Rock Slide again, pummeling Charizard with boulders.

Charizard was forced to the ground as more rocks landed on him.

He can’t take all that! I thought with fear, my heart pounding. “Charizard, please! Get out of there!”

“It looks like this is gonna be another win for Flygon!” the announcer determined.

“Charizard, get out of there and attack!” I screamed desperately. “Dragon Claw! NOW!”

Charizard was out of view, covered by the rocks.

Lola’s smiled widened as she looked up at me.

I glared back at her and looked down at the rocks covering my Pokemon. “Charizard! Do it! Let’s go!!

Charizard didn’t budge.

I let out a sigh. Two down? I shook my head. No! “NO! Charizard! We’re not gonna lose like this! Now ATTAAAAAACK!!”

With a loud roar.

With a huge explosion that erupted from underneath the rocks.

In a bright flash of red.

The rocks flew in multiple directions, off of Charizard! Some rocks flew into the walls, nearly going into the bleachers, causing fans to scream. Some rocks hit the beam underneath the platform Lola stood on, as well as the one I stood on with loud CLAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNGGGGGG sounds.

One rock smacked Flygon in the face, causing it to shout out.

Charizard was a red bullet, his body outlined in red, his claws glowing blue. With a roar, he used Flamethrower, and Flygon screamed out as the impact forced it to the ground. The attack ended and Flygon opened its eyes in fear as Charizard flew down at it and attacked with Dragon Claw, pulling back one claw and slashing into Flygon’s chest.

Flygon was forced along the ground, upturning the ground underneath it.

Charizard landed, growling.

“Blaze Ability is on!” I spoke up in amazement.

“Flygon is unable to battle! Charizard wins!” The referee waved the green flag at me.

“Charizard, you did it!” I cheered, my hands balled up tight, raised high in the air as I jumped repeatedly.

Charizard roared, his fire even more stronger than before, and let out a huge flame, the crowd going nuts over the visually stunning display of strength.

“And Charizard pulls through in an amazing comeback, surviving Rock Slide and ending the battle with a very effective Dragon Claw! This battle is red hot, folks, and Charizard, though clearly weakened by what it’s been through, is still looking raring for more as its Blaze Ability has been activated, boosting its Fire attacks! It’s simply impossible to tell who will win this battle as both Trainers have two Pokemon remaining.”

Flygon’s picture was reduced to a dark silhouette on the billboards.

Lola returned Flygon and threw her second Poke Ball.

This Poke Ball had different shades of green on the top of it.

“Let’s fight fire with fire, then!”

A flaming horse landed on the ground, neighing loudly, its head to the sky.

“Lola’s second Pokemon is revealed to be Rapidash!” the announcer informed.

Rapidash. The Fire Horse Pokemon and Ponyta’s evolved form. When Rapidash gallop at full speed, their fiery mane sparkles, a beautiful sight to behold.

The second Poke Ball near Lola’s picture was turned into the face of Rapidash.

“Charizard, let’s do this! Wing Attack!”

Charizard’s wings glowed brightly and he flew at Rapidash.

“Bounce!” Lola ordered.

Rapidash leaped into the air, dodging as Charizard swooped in on it.

Charizard looked up in shock.

Rapidash came down fast, stomping hard on Charizard.

Charizard roared, slamming down painfully.

“Rapidash got out of the way just in time and then returned with a brutal Bounce attack!” the announcer spoke. “Charizard isn’t gonna be able to take much more after this, I’ll tell ya!”

“Fire Blast!” Lola instructed.

“Dodge it!”

Charizard flew out of the way and the flame slammed into the wall by the crowd.

The crowd leaped up and down for joy, thrilled by the excitement of being so close to danger.

“Fire Blast! Fire Blast! Fire Blast!” Lola kept saying.

Rapidash responded, using the move over and over and over again.

Charizard kept dodging at my word.

Why is she attacking with that? I wondered. Charizard is a Fire type. What is her deal? She must have something more effective than that.

I watched as Charizard dodged around the attacks. “Get into the air!”

Charizard soared above Rapidash, dodging another hit.

That’s when I saw it.

“What in the world?!” the announcer shouted. “The field is actually on fire now! Was this intentional, or some kind of accident? What could be going on in this battle, ladies and gentlemen?”

Rapidash isn’t even aiming for Charizard, I realized as I watched Rapidash continue to burn the grass around it. But what is it doing?It wasn’t long at all before most of the field was on fire! Rapidash stood in the middle of it all, fire surrounding it.

“It seems that Trainer has completely lost it!” the announcer screamed. “Her Rapidash has burned the entire field, and is now standing in the midst of it! Wait a minute! What’s going on now?!

Rapidash’s body was covered in fire. The flame mane on its body suddenly burst into a much larger, dazzling display, small sparks repeatedly going off in the midst of it. It neighed loudly, standing on its hind legs, and its mane burst again in an incredible flash of bright fire. Rapidash was giving off beautiful sparkles, its mane looking amazing as it increased further in height and intensity. It was like watching an elaborate fireworks show, all on Rapidash’s body!

“Ladies and gentlemen, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that that Rapidash has Flash Fire Ability!” the announcer declared. “An Ability that raises the user’s Fire type moves if they are hit with a Fire type attack! It seems that now that the entire field is in flames, Rapidash has boosted its Fire moves dramatically! If I were completely out of my mind, I’d say that that’s exactly what is going on right now!”

Rapidash, on its hind legs, neighed again, looking magnificent against the flames surrounding it, its mane blazing stronger than ever, erupting every once in a while, showering the field in dazzling sprinkles of multicolored sparks.

The crowd was giving me a headache from how loud they were at this point, but I couldn’t blame them. This was unbelievable.

I began to choke from the smoke that was starting to clog up the air and raised my shirt over my face. “Charizard, into the flames!” I ordered.

Lola stared at me with wide eyes, confused.

Charizard grunted and dove down to the ground.

“DIG!”

The ground erupted into a burst of dirt and flames where Charizard hit the ground, digging through it.

“Bounce!”

Rapidash neighed and leaped into the air high as if it could fly.

Charizard burst from the ground and flew after Rapidash as it continued to soar into the sky. Rapidash’s limit was reached and Charizard caught up with it, ramming his head into Rapidash’s underside.

Rapidash neighed in pain as it was tossed up even further from the attack.

“Now go back to the ground!” I told Charizard, confident in my plan. I could taste the fire and smoke in my throat now. Was what she had done even allowed? I might suffocate before this round here even ends!

Charizard flew back to the ground and landed amongst the fire, unfazed, and looked up at Rapidash as it continued to soar into the air from the slam it took from him.

Rapidash finally started to fall back to Earth, its eyes closed, stunned.

“Meet it and use Wing Attack!”

“RAPIDASH!” Lola called out.

Charizard flew up and smacked Rapidash with a glowing wing as it came down.

Rapidash was flung through the air and landed on the ground as the flames consumed it.

“The smoke from the fire Rapidash has caused is beginning to make watching this match impossible! This tactic of Lola’s could be a lot more dangerous than it’s worth!” The announcer was sounding worried.

Some people were starting to get up and squeeze their way out of the bleachers, most people staying to watch the ending.

“Rapidash! Flare Blitz!” Lola said, waving her hand as she pulled her hoodie over her own face.

Rapidash got up and neighed loudly. Its entire body became coated in fire and it soared into the air, aiming for Charizard, looking like a shooting star.

“Charizard!” I coughed against the smoke. “Wing Attack!”

Charizard flew at Rapidash as Rapidash charged back, and they collided.

Both Pokemon dropped.

“Charizard is unable to battle!” the referee, who I had no idea had run out of the field and was now in the bleachers, a terrified look on his face as he watched the battle, shouted out, waving a red flag at Lola.

Rapidash stood up and flinched, receiving recoil damage, and collapsed.

“Rapidash is also no longer able to battle!” the referee added, waving the green flag at me.

I swallowed the lump in my throat, watching both Pokemon amongst the fire, smoke floating into the air.

“Return!” I stared at Lola like she was crazy as I gripped Charizard’s Poke Ball. She can’t expect me to send out a Pokemon in this inferno!

Lola returned Rapidash.

The picture for Rapidash and Charizard turned into a silhouette.

“Hydro Pump the ground!” she cried determinedly, raising an all white Poke Ball in the air before throwing it high.

Some kind of beaver came out with a goofy cry. It rolled in the air and faced down. As it fell towards the fire, it sprayed water down and doused a small area of the flames. It landed on the only safe spot amongst the fire that it had created, staring at the surrounding flames bravely. At once, it used Hydro Pump to douse the fire all around it, running at the fire, smoke rising, many more people leaving the stadium, others covering their mouths and noses as the Pokemon continued to get rid of the flames.

Bibarel. The Beaver Pokemon. This is the evolved form of Bidoof. They are hard workers and use their sharp teeth to cut down trees to build homes. They have been seen as an aid in the construction of buildings alongside humans.

Bibarel’s picture replaced the last Poke Ball near Lola.

Bibarel didn’t take too long before the fire was completely gone, the only real issue being the smoke that was in the air. Luckily, we were outdoors, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

“Well, I don’t know how safe that was, and there will probably be a fine for that young lady for that stunt,” the announcer said slowly. “But, I don’t think anyone can deny that that was one hell of a show! Now that the fire is gone, Gary can select his final Pokemon to face Bibarel!”

“And I know just who to use! Primeape, go!”

“PRIIIIMEAPE!” Primeape leaped out. He jumped into the air excitedly, but came back down quickly, not getting a good jump. “Prime?” Primeape looked down at his feet in confusion.

A picture for Primeape took the place of the last Poke Ball on my end.

“Now, watch us win!” Lola winked. “Roll Out!”

Bibarel leaped into the air and curled up, rolling before landing on the ground. It made a sploosh sound as it landed and spun through the ground at Primeape.

“Dodge it!”

Primeape tried to leap out of the way, but he seemed to stumble and fell. “APE!” Primeape was hit, unable to dodge. He got to his feet, wiping mud off of his face.

“Mud?” I said. “What the...?”

Bibarel rolled away and came back at Primeape.

“Watch out, Primeape!”

Primeape tried to leap away, but he got stuck in the dirt and fell over again.

Bibarel slammed into Primeape again.

Primeape cried out in pain as he hit the ground and laid still in the dirt. As he got up, he was coated in even more mud!

What’s going on? Where’s the mud from? “Primeape, use your Cross Chop to attack back!”

Primeape raised his arms and crossed them and they glowed white. He took a step forward and stumbled, crashing into the ground again. He stood up slowly, more mud on his face!

“And it seems that Lola’s last two Pokemon were strategically picked, ladies and gentlemen!” the announcer said. “Rapidash became a threat by burning the field and causing its strength to increase in the fire, and as a backup, she had Bibarel to douse the flames, creating a muddy atmosphere and making it impossible for Primeape to move properly! Bibarel, as a Pokemon who is part Water, can maneuver through this very moist environment with little to no problems!”

I watched, completely stunned, as Bibarel continued to repeatedly crash into Primeape, each hit worse than the last. We can’t dodge, I thought. We can’t attack. We’re just dummies, now. Hopeless dummies! This is all I have to show? Losing at the preliminaries? All I’ve been through, and this is what I’ve learned? That I’m not even able to make it through one round at the Pokemon League?

Bibarel slammed into Primeape once again.

He cried out, tumbling through the air, and slammed in the mud on his back.

“And it looks like this round is just about over for Gary and Primeape! Gary has done an astounding job, but if he doesn’t come up with something soon, Primeape will be out of steam!”

Primeape groaned weakly and managed to get up.

Bibarel tore through the mud at Primeape.

Primeape fell to one knee, exhausted, looking ready to drop, breathing hard.

Bibarel got closer.

Primeape’s hands were on the ground on either side of him, ready to take the final blow.

I gasped as Bibarel was just a couple of seconds away from hitting Primeape. “Catch Bibarel!! TURN IT INTO A SEISMIC TOSS!!

“Prime?” Primeape looked up. “APE!” Primeape reached out for the oncoming Bibarel.

Lola squinted at Primeape.

Bibarel slammed into him!Primeape grabbed onto Bibarel and he tumbled over onto his back the instant they connected, rolling in the mud with Bibarel!

Both Pokemon rolled through the mud, all around the field in circles.

“Let it build up and then toss it!” I commanded.

Bibarel and Primeape kept on rolling, picking up speed, circling the field.

“Bibarel, stop!” Lola screeched, watching in fright.

“DO IT!”

“APE!” Primeape flung Bibarel across the entire field.

“BAAAAAAARREEEEEELL!” Bibarel slammed into the wall. It slid down into the mud and stayed still.

Silence filled the stadium as all eyes were on the two Pokemon.

Primeape started to grunt angrily, grabbing my attention. I turned to see him hopping through the mud, tripping, falling, scrambling, desperately moving as quickly as he could to get to Bibarel.

Bibarel’s eyes opened and it slowly got to its feet.

Primeape continued to crawl through the mud, trying hard to jump through the thickness, sloshing through the muck.

Bibarel was stumbling around, dizzy from the spin it went through with Primeape.

Primeape was just a few feet away now, stomping forward slowly, a big, brown, dripping blob.

“BIBAREL!” Lola screamed desperately.

“Bi?” Bibarel shook its head.

Primeape reached Bibarel and pulled back his fist.

“BAREL!” Bibarel uttered in shock as it finally saw Primeape.

“APE!” Primeape slugged Bibarel in the face, sending it flying into the wall.

Bibarel remained on its back.

“Bibarel is unable to battle,” the referee, still in the stands, raising the green flag to me. “Primeape is the winner of this match and the victory goes to Gary!!”

The entire stadium practically exploded in celebration.

Bibarel’s picture was now a silhouette, and then Lola’s half of the screen went black, the words WINNER!!! GARY!!!! displayed in its place as the background of the billboards went bright yellow. The designs of my Pokemon by my picture vanished, replaced with clear pictures of my three Pokemon.

“INCREDIBLE!!” the announcer bellowed. “THIS ONE WILL GO DOWN IN THE BOOKS!! PRIMEAPE TURNED THE TABLES BY TAKING A POWERFUL ROLL OUT AND BOOSTING ITS OWN SEISMIC TOSS IN THE PROCESS!! THIS WILL BE A MATCH TO TOP AS GARY HAS MADE IT THROUGH THE FIRST ROUND!!”

YEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!” I leaped from my platform and landed on my feet in the mud, stumbling towards Primeape.

Primeape turned to me and grunted with excitement. He made his way through the mud towards me.

It took us a very long time, but once we were close enough, Primeape leaped through the air and tackled me down.

I laughed and hugged him tightly. “PRIMEAPE!! You were amazing, man!! We did it!! We really did it!!”

*

“That really was rather unique, Gary,” Prof. Oak said, patting my back. “I won’t be forgetting that match anytime soon.”

“The combination of both you and that Lola girl,” June added. “You both had a very impressive method of trying to win.”

“That girl could’ve killed us all!” my mom shouted. “What was her problem?”

“She knew what she was doing,” I said quickly, trying to shut my mom up. Actually, I agreed that Lola went way too far with how she used Rapidash, but I was happy with the match, and I didn’t need my mom to get all excited and angry and making a fuss over it. I just wanted things to be calm and happy right now. I won! “I’m just glad I won that battle. It’s all fine!” I smiled up at my mom, Prof. Oak, and June.

They all turned back to me, smiling, except for my mom, who kept a disapproving glance at me.

We were all outside, walking together, gazing at the scenery and looking for a nice place to eat dinner in honor of my victory, though the sun was only just beginning to set.

I had taken a shower and was now in fresh clothes. Best of all, my eye had stopped twitching. I wasn’t sure exactly when it had stopped, but I was just glad it did.

My Pokemon were at the Pokemon Center, getting some food and recovering themselves.

“Prof. Oak?” I said, looking up at him.

Prof. Oak turned, smiling, but his smile faded once he saw the seriousness on my face. “What is it, Gary?”

“Have you heard anything about Kiwi?”

Prof. Oak stopped walking, causing us all to stop shortly after him. He looked into my eyes sternly.

I didn’t tear my eyes away from his.

“Yes. I have, Gary,” Prof. Oak replied solemnly. “She’s doing okay. She’s still paralyzed. There’s no word yet on how long this could last. We’re hoping she’ll come out of it soon, and doctors are going over possible recovery exercises for her in the future, but for now, she isn’t able to move a muscle in her body.”

I lowered my eyes, my breathing seeming to get heavier. “Oh...”

“We’re all very concerned back home in Pallet Town. Her mom is with her daily at the hospital.”

I nodded. “At least she’s alright, I guess,” I spoke lowly.

Nobody said a word after that as we all thought about Kiwi.

“Well, we should continue searching for a place to eat, huh?” I suggested, looking up, managing a small smile. I had brought up something at the wrong time.

“Agreed,” Prof. Oak said, looking a little brighter.

June and my mom looked up at me and nodded, trying to be positive about the situation.

“I wonder how Robin is doing,” June mentioned as we all continued to walk through the village.

“I haven’t heard from him,” Prof. Oak stated. “We should call his parents later if we don’t run into him out here. His parents weren’t able to make it here to see his first round today. I’m sure he’s phoned home to them to tell them how he’s done.”

“I wonder when he battled,” June said thoughtfully. “And if he won.”

“I know he won!” I narrowed my eyes at June.

“Oh!” June’s lips pursed together as she stared at me, her eyes showing regret for her words. “I didn’t mean-”

I smiled at June and gazed up at the sky, taking a breath and calming down. “He’s gonna go all the way,” I said softly. “Just like I will. Me and him are gonna keep on going until we meet up at the final match. Then, we’ll battle to see who will win.” And that will be me, I thought to myself. No matter what, I have to beat him.

Six-on-six.

Once and for all.

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